Every year the masses learn that being part of the LGBTQ community is not that different; people are people. Yet due to social and communal customs and rituals, the queer community is still highly oppressed all over the world. Legally, as citizens, the community has won battles when it comes to discrimination, protections in the workplace, marriage, and adoption all over the world.
But the oppression still makes it feel difficult for individuals to feel comfortable or confident in what they do, whether it is in the public medium or in their personals lives, because of their sexual or romantic inclinations. That is the reason that public figures are important to have for all communities, showing support for equality and struggling youth.
Allies create a great support system for the queer community. These days Madonna, Ben Cohen, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Mraz, Kathy Griffin, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Brendon Ayanbadejo are some of the self-proclaimed heterosexual (or hetero-flexible) individuals who have in some way or another stood, spoken or achieved advancement for the community.
In 2014 many public figures have publicly shared their own labels in order to inspire others to love and accept each other. Following the steps of college basketball player Derrick Gordon, Mormon-rockstar Tyler Glenn and British nineties pop star Kavana coming out so far this year, here is a list of some individuals who consider themselves as part of the community.
Kavana is a former pop star from the 90's. In the UK, his home, he reached the top 40 eight times, the top 20 four times, and the top 10 twice. He auditioned at The Voice Uk in 2013 and failed to make it onto the show. In February ITV2 premiered the second season of The Big Reunion, were he made a supergroup of five former nineties/naughties stars which included Pop Idol's Gareth Gates, Blazin' Squad's Kenzie, Dane Bowers, and Adam Rickitt.
Ian 'H' Watkins
Ian Watkins, also known as H, was a fifth of pop megagroup STEPS. In 2007 he told The Sun he was gay. When the band reformed a few years ago, it was revealed that his relationship with the band's former manager, Tim Byrne, was one of the reasons the band disbanded in late 2001.
Ricky Martin always avoided revealing his sexual preferences. On March 2010, after adopting two boys, he shared an open letter via his website which said 'I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am'. The former Menudo member is one of the most beloved and best-selling artists worldwide, with more than seventy million albums sold.
Will Young was crowned the winner during the first season of Pop Idol in 2002. The series was the originator of American Idol and its partners all over the world. A tabloid was hoping to out him after his win, but he decided to do so himself stating 'It's totally no big deal, just part of who I am. For me it's normal and nothing to be ashamed about. I'm gay and I'm comfortable with that. I really don't know what the fuss is about'.
Young's first single release became the fastest-selling debut single in UK chart history going straight to number one and going on to sell over 1.7 million copies. In the Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles of the 21st Century (so far) published by the Official Charts Company (UK) the single topped the list.
Sinead O'Connor has released nine albums in her career. The outspoken singer-songwriter took her beautiful Irish voice to the top of the charts with her his "Nothing Compares 2 U".
In 2000 she told Curve magazine 'I'm a dyke ... although I haven't been very open about that and throughout most of my life I've gone out with blokes because I haven't necessarily been terribly comfortable about being a big lesbian mule. But I actually am a dyke.'
Darren Hayes, the Australian crooner behind Savage Garden, officially came out after his second marriage in 2006. Hayes has released four studio albums post-Savage Garden. The band's two albums have sold over fifteen million copies worldwide.
British rapper Lady Sovereign made it big worldwide with her 2006 single "Love Me or Hate Me". In 2010 she came out as a lesbian after entering Celebrity Big Brother in the UK.
If you like pop music, boy bands or simply were a youngster in the late eighties and early nineties you know of a certain boy band. New Kids on The Block were huge. They were so huge they reunited, toured with Backstreet Boys and have another tour (sans BSB) all over Europe this year.
Jonathan Knight, Jordan's big brother, was outed by a former boyfriend and popstar Tiffany. To all of this he shared on the band's official website 'Apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption 'I am gay'. I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected!'
Mark Feehily was certainly not the most popular member of Irish boyband, Westlife. He was the tall, quiet member who never had the chance to discuss his personal life on interviews. In 2005, Mark told The Sun he was gay and in a relationship with his former husband.
The band, which became a foursome, went on hiatus in 2012. Westlife sold over forty-five million records and hold the record for second most number-ones in the UK for a band (behind The Beatles) with fourteen singles. They also hold the record for most-consecutive number-ones in the UK, with seven singles.
Nina Sky, a band formed by identical twin sisters, have enjoyed success ever since their debut in 2004. Nicole Albino came out as a lesbian in 2010 after revealing she had married fashion designer Erin Magee.
In 2006, Lance Bass, fifth member of 'NSYNC, came out as gay on the cover of People magazine. The now gay-socialite dated model and personality Reichen Lehmkuhl. 'NSYNC sold over fifty million records worldwide and have the record for most albums sold in a week with No Strings attached (2000), 2.4 million copies.
Tizianno Ferro is one of Italy's best-selling artists of the 21st century. His has released five albums since his debut in 2001, including Italy's best-selling album of 2012, L'amore e una cosa semplice (Love is a simple thing). Despite his fears of coming-out and having his career ending, he came out as gay in 2010. The events inspired him to write the book Trent'anni e una chiacchierata con papà (Thirty years and a talk with dad).
Despite not winning the second season of American Idol in 2003, Clay Aiken truly won the sales battle.
His first release "Bridge Over Troubled Water/This is The Night", was the best-selling single of the year and the fastest-selling single since Elton John's 1997 release "Candle in The Wind". The single was the first physical release to sell over one million copies (pre-digital releases) in over a year at the time. It reached number one in the US, Canada and New Zealand.
Clay chose to come out publicly via People magazine in 2008. In the past decade he has released seven albums.
Now, Aiken is running for Congress as part of his home state, North Carolina.
Tegan and Sara
Last year Tegan told Dallas Voice: 'I won’t deny that there have times in the last 12 years that I wish we never said we were gay. It overshadows the music, for sure. But honestly, and without coming off cheesy, every single day right now it feels like I run into someone who tells me a story about them or someone they know or their kids where they found comfort in that we’re different and we’re outspoken, whether it’s because we’re gay or because we’re women or because we have funny haircuts.'
Duncan James, one of the hunky members of UK boyband Blue, first told the masses he was bisexual after he separated from his wife and had a child. But in the later years he has been vocal about solely being interested in men.
The band released their latest top 20 studio album last year, after appearing on ITV2's The Big Reunion. Since their debut in 2001, they have landed three number-one albums, five top 20 albums, three number-one singles, and eleven number-ones.